Worth saving?

By | Category: Travel news

Last Wednesday the Victorian Society published its list of top ten endangered buildings in the UK.

the Captain Cook pub in Middlesbrough – Image -Victorian Society

There are thousands of Victorian buildings, and thousands more of buildings from previous times but are they worth saving?

Surely if they were an opportunity to convert them, alter them and to turn them into something, entrepreneurs would have spotted the opportunity and purchased them?

That is a naive thought. It shouldn’t be but it is.

And whilst visiting heritage sites is one of the key parts of tourism would you visit any of the following if you had the opportunity to do so? For if there is no appeal for tourism then the buildings have to be converted into office, housing or for some other industrial use.

All of the buildings on the list below are grade two or grade two star listed

Samaritan Hospital for Women – London –1889-90

Brighton Hippodrome – Brighton –1901

Former Anglo-Bavarian Brewery – Shepton Mallet, Somerset – 1864

Former Captain Cook Pub – Teesside, Middlesbrough – 1893

Northgate Malt House Building – Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire – 1864

Bracebridge Pumping Station – Worksop, Nottinghamshire – 1881

Ex-Prudential Assurance Company Offices — Oldham, Greater Manchester —1889

Former Bavaria Place Police Station – Bradford –1877

Darlington Street Methodist Church – Wolverhampton –1900-01

Plas Alltran – Holyhead, Wales –c.1890

Take the Captain Cook pub in Middlesbrough for example. Primarily known outside Teeside for being one of the locations in the thirty-year old television series, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, it has been unused for ten years. In a poor state of repair is the substantial cost of refurbishment justified?  From the outside and the information that the Victorian Society has provided, would it be such a loss if it went the way of all flesh?

So many buildings of a substantial historical nature have disappeared since WWII that shouldn’t concentration be on the ones that matter so that tourists and visitors can see the best, the typical and the unusual?

The Victorian Society has frequently called for tighter controls over owners so that buildings don’t get to a state of decay. That might mean councils – or heritage groups – have a legislative backed responsibility to take over a building if it remains unused for more than two years for example. At least that would curb the costs or repairing it and more would be saved.

And from those that are saved, additional tourist attractions in areas not primarily known for tourism might arise.

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